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Old July 4th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #21
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Default Detour to: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Vizzle - Visual Learning Software

Specialisterne (Danish for 'Specialists') seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks. Their consultants bring the joy of work into areas where it is often missing today. The social enterprise introduced Information Systems Examination Board (ISEB) certifications for its consultants:
Quote:
...A person with Asperger's Syndrome is as capable of going to school and learning. But new surroundings, unfamiliar situations and unknown people are generally difficult for these people to handle.

Because of this, many have difficulties taking an exam.

"Many did very well in school, but not when it came to tests. Therefore, they do not have the diploma they were supposed to have," general manager Lisbeth Zornig Andersen explains.

Therefore, exams in connection with test certifications must take place in an environment that is secure for Specialisterne's employees...

The untraditional education and exam form was developed in cooperation with the Danish IT Society, which is in charge of certifications, and the development company Delta, which supplies teaching resources...
(source: Danish company certifies people with autism - Computerworld)

The approach of Specialisterne in the above example falls within the philosophy of 'universal design for learning' (UDL). UDL calls for using curricula and materials that are flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of learning styles and needs.

The three principles of UDL are described on the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) website as:
- Multiple means of representation, to give diverse learners options for acquiring information and knowledge;
- Multiple means of action and expression, to provide learners options for demonstrating what they know; and
- Multiple means of engagement, to tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation.

One example of a program following UDL principles is Vizzle. Vizzle is an award-winning, web-based software for children with Autism as well as non-Autistic children with visual learning styles.

Here is a short overview video on Vizzle: YouTube - ‪VizZle, Visual Learning Software for Autism‬‏
And some positive results with Vizzle...
Quote:
...“The main issue with my students is autism,” says Courtney Monastra, who teaches at Highland Local Schools in Marengo, Ohio. “When a parent comes in, they often don’t understand 100 percent of their child’s potential, because when there’s a challenge to communication, it is hard to see the child’s knowledge. My students are unconventional learners, and it’s much easier for them to interpret things they can see rather than hear the information from a person.”

Monastra’s school turned to VizZle, a Web-based lesson-creating resource that teaching teams can access through shared student folders and tracked assessment data.

“You can put in the [Integrated Programme (IP)] goal they’re working on and drag lessons into that goal so that every time they do that lesson, it’s measured,” Monastra says. “When you look at the end of the quarter at how they’re identifying letters, on top of documenting work in the classroom you can print out a progress graph.”

The kids’ love of technology pushes them to work outside their social comfort zone. “Their levels are so different: One isn’t verbal; one talks all the time, but his skills are lower. It’s been the first thing they can do together. We can practice taking turns using the electronic pen.”

Tailor-made reinforcements seemed ideally suited to those with autism, but is it tough to teach? “I have one student who goes in and makes his own lessons,” Monastra says. “It helps them generalize their knowledge, which is important. You can download a video from YouTube [which Monastra does at home] and put it at the end of the lesson, so my student who loves horses can watch a horse clip. Every one of my students has a focus.”

Amanda Deng found similar success in piloting VizZle in connection with Pennsylvania’s Competent Learner Model program. “One of my students really likes the Matching Board,” says Deng, who teaches at Capital Area Intermediate Unit 15 in Enola, “so I take images from his favorite cartoons and create Scooby-Doo or Sesame Street tile pairs for him to match. Another girl is quiet and withdrawn, but when I put her on the computer with a peer, she gets very excited, communicates more, and comes out of her shell. I use it a lot with two students at a time, making educational games for them that involve taking turns.

I also use Matching Board with coins, setting a target total amount with three to ten possible visual choices to reach it. They have a large and growing game-and-lessons library that you can edit or tweak and even personalize with your own voice. The kids will do just about anything for those frequent reinforcements...”
(sources: CAST: About UDL; SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT: Assistive Tech: May We Help You?)

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Old July 4th, 2011, 08:25 PM   #22
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Default Re: 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

RCIL - Resource Center for Independent Living

I worked for this center years back where there are great jobs with that job description, although they work with any type of disability, not just autism.A great resource for you because of their library and the people who have developed the job positions within the government standards and budget. You may want to look online at the program to get some ideas from our experiences. They also have an amazing library, perhaps you can get some info although I do not know if they have any international contacts, they go out of their way to be helpful.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 08:06 AM   #23
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Default Detour to: Specialisterne in developing countries

..........

Last edited by Visionary7903; July 5th, 2011 at 03:46 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #24
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Default Re: 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Specialisterne ('the Specialists' in Danish) seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks.

Bruce Gutlove is the Managing Director of Coco Farm & Winery in Ashikaga, Japan. This winery is unique in that it is made up of over 100 employees who have developmental or cognitive disabilities including severe mental retardation, autism, Down’s syndrome, and emotional disabilities. It is able to compete on the general market and is considered to be high quality in Japan.

Some interesting quotes from the press that I found reminiscent of the way the strengths of Autistics are being harnessed by Specialisterne in Software Testing:
Quote:
...As far as the pairing of autism with winemaking, it is a natural fit.
"Autistic people are very detail-oriented. They like the repetitive work and so some of this works very, very well with their personalities..."
Quote:
...Such attention to detail is a characteristic of autism and a requirement for some Coco Farm tasks, such as applying labels to bottles. Some students have mastered the winery's bottling line, which requires a worker to add empty bottles to a fast-moving mechanical line and remove filled ones at precise intervals...
The philosophy behind Coco Farm is somewhat similar to that of the relatively high functioning workforce at Specialisterne:
Quote:
...As touched upon at the start of the paper, the economy of Coco Farm has a different basis than that of modern society which rests on making more, working faster, and generating greater efficiency. Kawata says, “It seems to me that we are pursuing maximum efficiency in everything, and shunting aside those who cannot keep up with the pace of others in the competitive labor force—which will not lead to human happiness.” Coco Farm’s wine- making is the polar opposite of pursuit of profit at the expense of humanity, and is economic activity that places humans at the center. In this way of thinking, the well-being of the laborers takes precedence over efficiency. In other words, sacrifices in the present for the sake of the future are not made, and each person’s “here and now” is given priority...

...Another staff member said, “That’s okay if people are not able to perform heavy labor; there is definitely something at the school that the students should be doing at this moment.” At Coco Farm, one can say that human beings are not made to fit the economy, but that there is an “economy with a human face” being realized in which the economy is made to fit human beings...
(sources: Autistic winemakers crafting fine vintages in Japan - CNN; Hotei friend Bruce Gutlove makes cover of Wall St Journal!; http://www.nier.go.jp/hidekim/ESD/BenevolentEconomy.pdf)

Last edited by Visionary7903; July 9th, 2011 at 04:53 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 01:13 PM   #25
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Default Re: 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Specialisterne ('the Specialists' in Danish) seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks. Their consultants bring the joy of work into areas where it is often missing today.
(source: Better, faster... and no office politics: the company with the autistic specialists - Features, Health & Families - The Independent)

Likewise, a non-intensive farm environment (as per the below example) may be especially suitable for training those individuals at more severe points on the Autistic Spectrum.

Owned by Lydia Otter (a special needs teacher), the Pennyhooks Project in Wiltshire, England works with over 30 young people with Autism. Most of Pennyhooks’ students are on the severe end of the Spectrum: they have little or social ability or communcation and a difficulty in making sense of the world. Aged 13–27, they visit for between 1–5 days a week...
Quote:
...learning skills including animal husbandry, conservation, health and safety and social interaction. People with autism, who often have very limited communication and are locked into their own world, find it very hard to cope with large groups of people, noise and change so the predictable, gentle nature of life on the farm suits them well and is the perfect setting for the project, which offers a recognised qualification in the Countryside Stewardship Course.

The motto at the Pennyhooks Project is “Success leads to success” and students’ development on the course is taken in tiny steps, with each small success a stepping stone to the next achievement. Lydia’s years in education have helped her develop a huge range of teaching materials that can be accessed by people with diverse communication needs, and a typical day on the farm is split between worksheet-based learning and discussion, and hands-on experience of the daily routines of the farm, which includes feeding and caring for the animals, tending and conserving the land and preparing firewood. The young people learn skills such as pushing a barrow, fetching and carrying and using simple tools that can then be used in other areas of life. People with autism often struggle with conceptual ideas so being able to see, for example, the development of chickens from eggs, or growing vegetables to make soup, makes it much easier to understand the process. The course offers a holistic learning experience both on the farm and in the “classroom” ... a purpose-built facility ... offering a safe, comfortable and homely environment.

Since the Project has been running Lydia and her [staff] have been delighted by the positive response of the young people who attend, many of whom first came whilst at school and have stayed on as young adults. They’ve observed real gains in self confidence, sense of well-being and social and practical skills. Autistic people are often highly agitated and frustrated but the quiet atmosphere of the farm seems to have a calming affect on everyone and parents comment that their children sleep better and are more able to cope with life in the real world thanks to the Pennyhooks Project...
(sources: http://www.soilassociation.org/LinkC...0%3D&tabid=197; http://files3.peopleperhour.com/uplo...oks%20Farm.doc)
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Old August 1st, 2011, 09:12 AM   #26
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Specialisterne ('the Specialists' in Danish) seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks. Their consultants bring the joy of work into areas where it is often missing today.
(source: Better, faster... and no office politics: the company with the autistic specialists - Features, Health & Families - The Independent)

Likewise, an environment like the one being promoted by the Humana Gardenworks program is designed to be especially suited to those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The program offers individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders hands-on garden and landscape training that should give them skills they can use to give them future financial independence. Training includes providing basics of landscape maintenance, sustainable landscaping, permaculture, herb/vegetable garden and water harvesting techniques; as well as growing, preparing and selling products from the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center's (SARRC) organic garden and greenhouse...
Quote:
...The program also called for the promotion of partnerships with local landscaping and gardening organizations for the purpose gaining training resources and potential job opportunities... According to Humana gardenworks program coordinator Brad Herron, a significant effort was made during the development of the program’s curriculum to move beyond the basics of gardening and create a program that met the needs of an Arizona environment and lifestyle.

“Partnering with az Homegrown Solutions and the Watershed Management Group, we developed a curriculum that embraced sustainable landscaping and water management, two important elements to consider in Arizona,” Herron said. Gardenworks graduate Erik Diehn has utilized his experience to set up a new home herb planter. “The skills I learned in gardenworks have been quite useful, as my mother is currently away and I am tending to her garden, especially her tomato plant, which has needed a lot of care,” Diehn said. Beyond practical job skills, participants have developed friendships outside gardenworks, a sign that the program is working on several levels. “I see emails exchanged and groups getting together to socialize. That’s amazing progress,” Herron said. Over the past year, the participants of Humana gardenworks have planted citrus trees, herbs, melons and all manner of vegetables. More than two dozen adults with autism have graduated from the program since its inception, and more than 75 volunteers have worked side-by-side with participants. Many of the program’s products, including planters, are available for purchase at the Desert Botanical Garden and Pearson & Company in Scottsdale. The herbs grown in the garden are used in the soups created by culinaryworks ® , another sarrc vocational program. Gardenworks will offer landscaping and water harvesting services in 2011 to commercial entities and homeowners. Working with Watershed Management Group, program participants will build cisterns, capturing more than 80,000 gallons of water. Sarrc will become one of the few water harvesting demonstration sites in Arizona...
(sources: Autism Vocational and Life Skill Training;
SARRC;
GLAZFeb_2011)
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Old August 1st, 2011, 09:13 AM   #27
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Specialisterne ('the Specialists' in Danish) seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks. Their consultants bring the joy of work into areas where it is often missing today.

While Specialisterne is designed to compete on the open market (rather than being a 'sheltered workshop'/charity), it also accepts external funding and grants. Prior to the social enterprise opening up in Iceland for example, the Specialisterne Iceland project received generous funding from the European Union's initiative, Lifelong Learning Programme (Leonardo grant). Likewise, at least 700,000 [pounds] in government grants and loans were awarded prior to the opening of Specialisterne Scotland.
(sources: https://sites.google.com/site/specialisterne20102012/; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...-west-10857029)

Similarly, in October 2009, Mark El-Tawil, president of Humana of Arizona, named the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) as the winner of a $100,000 grant funded by the health benefits company. SARRC used the funds to create the Humana Gardenworks program.

The ten week training series offers individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders hands-on garden and landscape training that should give them skills they can use to give them future financial independence. Training includes basics of caring of commercial, public and residential landscape spaces; as well as growing, preparing and selling products from SARRC's organic garden and greenhouse...
Quote:
...The program also called for the promotion of partnerships with local landscaping and gardening organizations for the purpose gaining training resources and potential job opportunities... According to Humana GardenWorks program coordinator Brad Herron, a significant effort was made during the development of the program’s curriculum to move beyond the basics of gardening and create a program that met the needs of an Arizona environment and lifestyle.

“Partnering with az Homegrown Solutions and the Watershed Management Group, we developed a curriculum that embraced sustainable landscaping and water management, two important elements to consider in Arizona,” Herron said. GardenWorks graduate Erik... has utilized his experience to set up a new home herb planter. “The skills I learned in gardenworks have been quite useful, as my mother is currently away and I am tending to her garden, especially her tomato plant, which has needed a lot of care,” [Erik] said. Beyond practical job skills, participants have developed friendships outside gardenworks, a sign that the program is working on several levels. “I see emails exchanged and groups getting together to socialize. That’s amazing progress,” Herron said. Over the past year, the participants of Humana GardenWorks have planted citrus trees, herbs, melons and all manner of vegetables. More than two dozen adults with autism have graduated from the program since its inception, and more than 75 volunteers have worked side-by-side with participants. Many of the program’s products, including planters, are available for purchase at the Desert Botanical Garden and Pearson & Company in Scottsdale. The herbs grown in the garden are used in the soups created by CulinaryWorks, another [SARRC] vocational program. GardenWorks will offer landscaping and water harvesting services in 2011 to commercial entities and homeowners. Working with Watershed Management Group, program participants will build cisterns, capturing more than 80,000 gallons of water. [SARRC] will become one of the few water harvesting demonstration sites in Arizona...
(sources: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20091023005477/en/Humana-Names-Southwest-Autism-Research-Resource-Center; http://www.autismcenter.org/vocational.aspx#33; SARRC; GLAZFeb_2011)

Last edited by Visionary7903; June 7th, 2012 at 09:53 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 09:16 AM   #28
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Specialisterne ('the Specialists' in Danish) seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks. Their consultants bring the joy of work into areas where it is often missing today.

There has been quite a bit of interest from researchers in the social enterprise. Robert Austin, Professor at Copenhagen Business School and Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, uses the Specialisterne story as a case study in his classes. Austin first learned about Specialisterne from Jonathan Wareham of ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain; the two cowrote the case with Javier Busquets, also of ESADE.
(source: http://www.torontoenterprisefund.ca/...s_article_id=9)

Indeed, Specialisterne is definitely not the only work/living environment for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders which provides opportunities for researchers.

The “Cascina Rossago” project in Italy aims at supporting individuals affected by medium to serious forms of Autism who are partially autonomous. The first Italian farm community for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, there is capacity for 24 individuals with the condition. Cascina Rossago, located in the Oltrepo Pavese hills in northern Italy, opened in May 2002. Individual programs based on behavioural programs are integrated in the farm community activities - there is a day time ratio of at least 1:2 Autistic individuals to others (including student trainees)...
Quote:
...The residents of Cascina Rossago are supported by about 50 carers, educators, nurses and other workers. The autistic people raise the animals, pick mushrooms, grow fruit and vegetables, work in the joinery, in the ceramics workshop and on the loom in the weaving-room, where the wool from the alpaca is gathered. The products are then sold at markets. They also produce brochures and posters, wash cars and play jazz in a band, the Orchestra Invisibile (Invisible Orchestra). They have recorded a CD and held a concert to raise funds.

...Among [those] working at the farm are many young researchers, because the centre is also an observation post studying the neuropsychological and biological aspects of autism and providing data to the scientific research community...
(sources: http://www.appda-lisboa.org.pt/congr...rs_resumos.pdf; http://www.autismontario.com/Client/...sm_Connect.pdfGLAZFeb_2011)

Last edited by Visionary7903; March 21st, 2012 at 10:46 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 09:19 AM   #29
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Specialisterne ('the Specialists' in Danish) seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks. Their consultants bring the joy of work into areas where it is often missing today.

There has been quite a bit of interest from researchers in the social enterprise. Robert Austin, Professor at Copenhagen Business School and Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, uses the Specialisterne story as a case study in his classes. Austin first learned about Specialisterne from Jonathan Wareham of ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain; the two cowrote the case with Javier Busquets, also of ESADE.

(source: http://www.torontoenterprisefund.ca/...s_article_id=9)

Indeed, Specialisterne is definitely not the only work/living environment for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders which provides opportunities for researchers.

The “Cascina Rossago” project in Italy aims at supporting individuals affected by medium to serious forms of Autism who are partially autonomous. The first Italian farm community for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, there is capacity for 24 individuals with the condition. Cascina Rossago, located in the Oltrepò Pavese hills in northern Italy, opened in May 2002. Individual programs based on behavioural programs are integrated in the farm community activities - there is a day time ratio of 1:2 Autistic individuals to others (including student trainees)...
Quote:
...The residents of Cascina Rossago are supported by about 50 carers, educators, nurses and other workers. The autistic people raise the animals, pick mushrooms, grow fruit and vegetables, work in the joinery, in the ceramics workshop and on the loom in the weaving-room, where the wool from the alpaca is gathered. The products are then sold at markets. They also produce brochures and posters, wash cars and play jazz in a band, the Orchestra Invisibile (Invisible Orchestra). They have recorded a CD and held a concert to raise funds.

...Among [those] working at the farm are many young researchers, because the centre is also an observation post studying the neuropsychological and biological aspects of autism and providing data to the scientific research community...
(sources:http://www.appda-lisboa.org.pt/congr...rs_resumos.pdf; http://www.autismontario.com/Client/...sm_Connect.pdf)
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Old August 14th, 2011, 05:17 AM   #30
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Specialisterne ('the Specialists' in Danish) seeks to harness strengths that many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess - good attention to fine details, precision, and high tolerance for repetitive tasks. Their consultants bring the joy of work into areas where it is often missing today.
(source: Better, faster... and no office politics: the company with the autistic specialists - Features, Health & Families - The Independent)

Similarly, all tasks and activities at the Life Farm are performed by persons with Autism, together with occupational therapists and care assistants, and the work they do brings them joy and satisfaction. The Life Farm is located in Więckowice village in the vicinity of Krakow, Poland, and it is a centre of the Community of Hope Foundation. Established in 1998, the Community of Hope Foundation has a mission to provide assistance to people suffering from Autism and related developmental disorders, as well as their families. The Life Farm is a permanent residence for those persons, also serving as a centre for their rehabilitation, therapy, and work...

A good video on the Life Farm, with English subtitles, is located at the bottom of the following link: Fundacja Wspólnota Nadziei - Community of Hope Foundation
Quote:
...Another project, entitled: “Towards a social enterprise – a pilot project of job activation for persons with autism” is a preparatory one.
...The goal of the project is to create a “seed” for the future social enterprise, in which persons with autism shall be employed, under the guidance of job coaches and supported by assistants. Persons with autism and their assistants in the ‘Life Farm’ already grow and harvest natural, environmentally friendly products. We are planning that these organic foods shall be offered for sale in “seasonal packages” – on subscription basis and/or via the Internet, initially to the Farm’s friends and collaborators, and in the future, also to other Customers.

...Persons with autism, supported by their assistant therapists and job coaches, shall produce the food at the Farm, as well as packaging for these products (in the existing workshop at the hostel). They will also be involved in the confection and packaging of products, and, finally, deliveries to Customers. This will enable their activation and rehabilitation – both general social rehabilitation and work-related one – in many various situations and on many different levels.

Both high– and low-functioning persons with autism are involved in these activities. High-functioning persons, that is, the more independent ones, will gradually adjust to the idea of running a “social enterprise”, they will have a chance to understand the value of money, and they will perform more ambitious tasks – in their case we can talk about job activation. Those low-functioning persons will perform more simple and less “demanding” tasks – in their case this will be more of social rehabilitation, and therapy through work...
(source: ang_folder-1.pdf from Fundacja Wspólnota Nadziei - Community of Hope Foundation)

Last edited by Visionary7903; March 21st, 2012 at 10:47 PM.
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agricultural , autism , employment , revolution , rural , specialisterne , spectrum


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